Sunday, December 04, 2005

From our "Unclear on the Concept" Department....

The Chip.

So... I'm looking at getting into a new Amex card...
My old one is fine, thanks... Just exploring possibilities.
I'm not allowed to go into the office except for extreme emergencies, (Don't ask. It will only confuse) so I'm just killing time.

In any case, I'm looking over the huge pile of offers for new credit cards that regularly fill my mailbox. I need another/new credit card like I need another hole in the head, but I figure it never hurts to look at the propaganda they send out. Must have some redeeming value otherwise thay wouldn't have spent good money sending it to me, eh?
(By the way- do YOU know the difference between and charge card and a credit card? You have 10 seconds: Begin.)

The only thing in the pile with any interest: American Express Blue.
Why? Because the card is translucent...and has a nifty smart chip embedded in it.

Now, the non-geek among you might ask "What is so cool about that? Why is it better than the any other credit card from AmEx?"
Because it has a chip, of course.

"But...What is it for?" you ask, cleverly getting to the crux of the matter...

I asked that question too... At 1-800-528-4800... The AmEx accounts customer service line.

AmEx: AmericanExpresscustomerservicethisisJuliehowcanIhelpyou?
Yours Truly: Hi..Uh. I wanted to ask about the AmEx Blue card.
(Long conversation concerning which of the 5 different Blue cards I wanted to explore the possibilities of using.)

Finally- The Chip.

AmEx: It's a smart chip.

YT: Really... (Fighting the urge to ask "How Smart?")

AmEx: Yes, it's used to protect your on-line transactions.

YT: Really. How's it do that?

AmEx: Uh... Just a sec.

YT: Sure. Take your time.

AmEx: Yes... It's to...uh...provide better security for your on-line transactions.
(Obviously reading from the computer-proffered script on her CSR software.)

YT: How?

AmEx: Excuse me?

YT: How does the smart chip do that?... When I make an on-line purchase, I still type in my account number; I don't have a smart chip reader on my computer. How does it provide more secure on-line transactions?

AmEx:(Long pause.)

YT: Hello?

AmEx: Hmmm. I'm just reading here...The chip is an ID Keeper, a free web tool that stores your favorite URLs, logins, and personal data directly on your Smart Chip so you'll never have to input them again.

YT: Tell me more... (Trying to figure out how I can store info on my card's smart chip.)

AmEx: Oh. (Sounding disappointed)

YT: What's wrong?

AmEx: As of 12/31/2005 the ID Keeper Program will be permanently disabled. If you currently use ID Keeper you can back up your stored data. That's all.

Apparently they haven't figured out how to get data on and off the cards either.

YT: Hello, Citibank? Do you have cards with smart chips on them?

TBG Out.

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